INFOMAR Launches Blue Scale Map Series

Blue Scale Map Series

INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) has launched the Blue Scale Map Series; a collection of 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps of Ireland’s coastal waters. Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, the maps highlight the topography of the coast in unprecedented detail.

In 2006, the INFOMAR programme was established and is currently one of the world’s largest and leading seabed mapping programmes. The programme, funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, is a joint venture by Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute and aims to map Ireland’s seabed and deliver a comprehensive baseline bathymetry dataset to underpin the future management of Ireland’s marine resource.

Ireland’s coastline is 3,171km in length and boasts some of the most unique & dynamic environments in Europe.

The Blue Scale Map Series is the culmination of over a decade of work. Starting this week, and for the next 18 weeks, INFOMAR will be releasing a new map of a different section of the Irish coastline. The first in the series is the bluescale bathymetric map of Galway Bay.


Galway Bay
Map 1 of 18 in the series charts the coastal waters of Galway Bay


Galway Bay (Cuan na Gallimhe) is on the west coast of Ireland, between the counties of Galway to the north, and Clare to the south. The bay is approximately 50 km long from Galway City in the northeast, to the Aran Islands at the entrance to the bay in the west. There are numerous small islands within the bay, of glacial origin in the inner bay, and low lying granite in Connemara to the northwest. The karst limestone hills of the Burren form the southern boundary of the bay. The coastal parts of Galway Bay have been designated a Special Area of Conservation. This is because of the wide range of important habitat types which include intertidal mud and sandflats, other littoral habitats, coastal lagoons, saltmarshes, turloughs, vegetated cliffs, calcareous grassland and limestone pavements. Galway Bay offers habitat to common seals and otters, and is an important ornithological site for seabirds, waders and waterfowl.


Detail of inner Galway Bay
Each map is carefully drawn to include the latest high resolution INFOMAR bathymetry data


The series is a testament to the continuous dedicated surveying efforts of the INFOMAR team, and highlight the intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves.

INFOMAR is making all 18 maps available for free to the public to download in high resolution JPEG format. Follow the journey each week as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website, and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.


Blue Scale Series release dates:

Friday 11th August: Galway Bay (Galway)

Friday 18th August: Loop Head (Clare)

Friday 25th August: Tralee Bay (Kerry)

Friday 1st September: Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)

Friday 8th September: Iveragh Peninsula (Kerry)

Friday 15th September: Bantry Bay (Cork)

Friday 22nd September: Mizen Head (Cork)

Friday 29th September: Roaringwater Bay (Cork)

Friday 6th October: Seven Heads (Cork)

Friday 13th October: Cork Harbour (Cork)

Friday 20th October: Youghal Bay (Cork/Waterford)

Friday 27th November: Tramore Bay (Waterford)

Friday 3rd November: Hook Head (Wexford)

Friday 10th November: Carnsore Point (Wexfrod)

Friday 17th November: Wicklow Head (Wiclow)

Friday 24th December: Dublin Bay (Dublin)

Friday 1st December: Donegal Bay (Donegal)

Friday 8th December: Aran Islands (Galway)


INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) is a twenty year programme to map the physical, chemical and biological features of Ireland’s seabed. INFOMAR is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), and delivered by joint management partners Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute. The programme has placed Ireland centre-stage as global leaders in marine stewardship, seabed mapping and development of marine resources.

Founded in 1845, Geological Survey Ireland is Ireland's public earth science knowledge centre and is a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. It is committed to providing free, open and accurate data and maps on Ireland's subsurface to landowners, the public, industry, and all other stakeholders, within Ireland and internationally.  It deals with a diverse array of topics including bedrock, groundwater, seabed mapping, natural disasters, and public health risks. 

The Marine Institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. It provides government, public agencies and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland's marine resources.